Everyone is invited to enjoy the sophisticated sounds of classical jazz pianist, vocalist and composer Dehner Franks on Wednesday, March 11, at 1 p.m. at the Reed Whipple Cultural Center. Tickets are priced at $5 for all seats, available by phone or at the center’s box office at 821 Las Vegas Blvd. North. Box office hours are Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Call (702) 229-6211 for tickets and information.
Franks will perform selections from the following list: “Cascades Rag,” “Gladiolas Rag,” “Ain't Misbehavin',” “Handful of Keys,” “Jitterbug Waltz,” “Alright, Okay, You Win,” “Blues,” “Big Red,” “Caravan,” “Scrapple From the Apple,” “My Foolish Heart,” “Night & Day,” “Tango,” “Celebration,” a medley of Gershwin tunes, and original compositions.
Franks earned Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies degrees from the University of Washington in 1995. Since then, his professional music career has led him to perform in distant lands, from the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, to Ghana, West Africa, and the United Arab Emirates. He has performed in hundreds of locations in the United States. In 2004, Franks wrote an original score and lyrics for a musical for the West Las Vegas Arts Center entitled "Take Me to the Water." The performance was so well received that the director, Walter Mason, asked Franks to write a second score to a play written by James Baldwin. This second play, "Amen Corner," was performed in Las Vegas in December 2004.
Franks was commissioned by the Nordstrom Corporation to arrange, record and produce the music for their holiday CD, “Holiday Lights,” sold exclusively at Nordstrom’s. Since then he has recorded several CDs, available on his Web site.
Future concerts planned at the Reed Whipple Cultural Center include the jazz quartet Shapiro Project on April 24 and Richel Kompst and the Nightcrawlers on May 8. Upcoming dramatic presentations include “Life After 50: Survivalist Training Required” March 27-28, and Rainbow Company Youth Theatre’s “The Samurai and the Shadow Princess” April 3-12.
The Reed Whipple Cultural Center, operated by the Arts & Community Events Division of the city of Las Vegas Department of Leisure Services, offers a variety of classes and workshops, including youth theatre, youth art, pottery, ceramics, belly dancing, tap dancing, Irish step dance, Hawaiian hula, tap/ballet dancing, and piano and voice lessons. Classes are value priced and affordable for the whole family. For a list of available classes and activities, pick up the current ArtQ at the center or download it online at www.lasvegasnevada.gov/information/3005.htm. The center is closed Sunday, Monday and holidays. For more information on activities and classes at Reed Whipple Cultural Center, call (702) 229-6211.